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Monday, September 27, 2021

Football

UH football 2020 season grades: Coaching staff


UH head coach Dana Holgorsen encourages his team pregame before its game against UCF at TDECU Stadium during the 2020 season. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH head coach Dana Holgorsen encourages his team pregame before its game against UCF at TDECU Stadium during the 2020 season. | Courtesy of UH athletics

The 2020 Houston football season was one unlike any other, featuring cancellations, empty stadiums and plenty of ups and downs for the Cougars.

After looking back at how every position on the offense and defense performed during the season, it is time to conclude the 2020 UH football grades by evaluating the Cougars’ coaching staff.

Slow starts

A major storyline for the UH offense was coming out of the gates slow to open up games. The Cougars’ offense only accounted for 30 first-quarter points all season.

The fact that these first-quarter struggles were consistent all season, with the Cougars’ offense only finding the end zone three times all season in the opening quarter, was quite troubling.

While the UH offense’s lack of first-quarter production cannot be blamed entirely on the coaches, Dana Holgorsen and his offensive coaching staff failed to come up with answers to solve the Cougars’ early problems.

As a result, UH found itself trailing early in nearly every game of the season, which forced Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson to call plays that were not aligned with the offensive gameplan they wanted to use.

Defensive woes

The Cougars’ offense was not the only unit that had many struggles as the UH defense struggled to put together a full 60 minutes of solid defense. The team gave up an average of 34.25 points per game.

After starting off the season looking like they could be one of the country’s top run defenses, the Cougars got gashed in the run game over the final six games of the season, including giving up consecutive 300-yard rushing games against UCF and Cincinnati.

UH also was susceptible to giving up big plays through the air, but the pass defense was not as big as a problem as defending the run was for the Cougars.

On the positive side, defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen and his staff did a good job making half time adjustments as the UH defense was often able to put together a string of stops in the second half to give the offense a chance to get back into the game after early deficits.

Penalty problems

Penalty problems persisted all season for UH as the Cougars were called for 61 penalties for a total of 546 yards, many of which were extremely costly and either killed drives offensively or gave their opponents a new life.

The Cougars had 10 penalties in each of their first two games and after these games, Holgorsen said that the team had to be much more disciplined.

While the Cougars were able to cut down on penalties as the season progressed, they still committed their fair share of penalties.

Performance grade

A team is only as good as its coach is how the old saying goes and it rung true in 2020 for UH.

While not all of the problems fall on the UH coaching staff, the UH football coaching staff needed to step up and find a way to get through to their guys.

With two years under his belt as head coach, 2021 will be a crucial year for Holgorsen to prove that he can turn the UH program around because everyone knows that most athletic directors have coaches on a short leash when the team is not getting the results expected.

Overall Grade: C-

For more of The Cougar’s 2020 UH football offseason grades, click here.

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